Cape Town’s fan walk is expected to erupt in celebrations reminiscent of the 2010 World Cup when the world’s most popular team, Manchester United, takes on Ajax Cape Town in Green Point on Saturday night.
The Red Devils arrived in the city this morning, before their pre-season warm-up against Ajax at Cape Town Stadium.
Organisers have spent the last 10 days planning the fan walk. They guarantee it will live up to the standards of the World Cup.
Steel bands, drummers, brass bands, jugglers and street performers will line the fan walk.
Decorations include red-and-white streamers and arches to represent the shirt colours of United (red) and Ajax (red and white).
However, Barry Tyson, whose company is organising the walk, admitted he is worried by a forecast of showers.
But, many supporters have laughed off suggestions that the weather could dampen their mood on the day.
“Not at all!” said Devon September, chairman of the city’s official Manchester United Supporters’ Club. “It can rain, it can snow at the Cape Town Stadium for all we care. We’ll be out in full force. Fan walk, the whole nine yards.”
Manchester United is Cape Town’s best supported football club, going by the “number of supporters”, he said, adding: “There is a long-standing relationship between the city and Old Trafford (United’s home ground).”
The various supporters’ clubs are to “meet and greet” United’s management throughout the weekend. If United is Cape Town’s best supported club, it begs the question: Where does that leave local side Ajax Cape Town?
The club disappointingly finished outside the top eight in the PSL last season, and they rarely attract more than a few thousand supporters to home matches.
Ajax defender Matthew Booth shrugs off suggestion they are intimidated by the support that United is likely to attract.
“The massive crowd predicted is really exciting for us.
“Actually, I’ve spoken to supporters and a lot of them have been telling me that they’ll be coming in their United tops, and their Ajax jackets,” Booth said.
“It is a friendly after all and we’ll be out there to enjoy the occasion. If we manage to put in a good performance, we hope that it will encourage more Capetonians to support us.”
The old rule of upping the ante against “quality” opposition will definitely apply, said Booth.
And does a local defender go softer on the shins of a striker worth £30 million?
“No, the opposite in fact,” laughed Booth. “Generally, the more expensive they are, the harder you’re likely go in for a tackle.”